Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 30 July-5 August 2018

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Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 30 July-5 August 2018

All week

Gory tours and tales of war aboard The Golden Hinde.

LANGUAGE SHIFT: Did you know that languages die out at the rate of one every two weeks? Discover endangered languages like Breton, Alsatian, Sardinian and Shetlandic at an art exhibition that visually maps poems written in these vanishing vernaculars. National Poetry Library, Southbank Centre, free, just turn up, 26 July-23 September

ARMADA WEEK: Be transported back to 1588 and the great naval battle between the English fleet and the Spanish Armada. The Golden Hinde is hosting a series of demonstrations on how the Spanish were defeated, followed by a gruesome tour of the ship with gory facts aplenty. The Golden Hinde (Bankside), £5, just turn up, 28 July-3 August

WEIMAR MAGIC REALISM: There's a new free temporary exhibition at the Tate Modern. Germany's Weimar Republic experienced a flowering of artistic innovation, not least in the diverse practices of Otto Dix, George Grosz, Albert Birkle and Jeanne Mammen. Discover the emotion, magic, and unsettling imagery that characterised the dozen or so years before Nazi rule. Tate Modern (Bankside), free entry, just turn up, 30 July 2018-14 July 2019

IKEA READING ROOMS: Add bit of culture to your pilgrimage for flat-pack furniture and Swedish meatballs. IKEA has teamed up with the Man Booker Prize to launch a pop up reading room, featuring all the longlisted titles. If you stumble upon a real page turner, you can even take it home with you. IKEA (Wembley), free, book ahead, 31 July-5 August

Monday 30 July

Learn about the women workers who've kept the capital ticking over throughout history.

WOMEN AND THE WORKPLACE: Explore the hard graft undertaken by female Londoners throughout history at this free talk — from factories to foundries, to hospitals, shopping and entertainment. London Metropolitan Archives (Clerkenwell), free, book ahead, 2pm-3pm

LOVE ISLAND FINALE PARTY: It's set to be a bittersweet day for fans of trash-tastic reality telly. On Love Island, the time has finally come to crown this year's winning couple. So grab your mates and a drink to calm your nerves and tune in to Drink, Shop & Do's live stream. Drink, Shop & Do (King's Cross), free when you buy a drink, just turn up, 6pm

CONSTANCE AND KELLY: At this staged reading, you'll meet Constance Markievicz —- suffragette, socialist, soldier, and in the slammer for her role in the Easter Rising. Locked up in HMP Holloway, she meets Kelly McCoy who, in 2015, is serving a three month sentence for stealing baby milk. But is there more to her situation than meets the eye? Find out as part of the Echoes of Holloway Prison project. Islington Museum, free, book ahead, 6.30pm-8pm

Tuesday 31 July

A nice bit of cathartic cringing sharing your dating horror stories.

NURSING A PLAGUE: As part of the AIDS Histories and Cultures Festival, the Royal College of Nursing will look at how the epidemic of the 80s and 90s continues to permeate contemporary attitudes to sexuality and relationships. Drawing on the oral histories of HIV/AIDS affected people, including nurses, they'll explore experiences of stigma, shame and guilt. Royal College of Nursing (Marylebone), free, book ahead, 5.30pm-7pm

COLOR ME BADD DATES: Prepare to cringe — this opening mic night is putting the spotlight on your most tragic dating fails. If you're feeling brave, take to the stage and share your horror stories. If not, simply sit back and enjoy a night of unpredictable hilarity. The Book Club (Shoreditch), £5, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm

BARRY FERN AND FRIENDS: Join one of Angel Comedy Club's founders for a selection of his favourite stand up acts. Get down there early if you hope to score a seat. The Camden Head (Islington), free, just turn up, 8pm-10pm

Wednesday 1 August

Merchant Square screens The Greatest Showman.

STYX, STONES, AND ROMAN BONES: An ancient soul is stuck in modern London. Can you help Roman Londoner Grata finally cross the River Styx and make it to the Underworld? Find out about her life in old Londinium before recreating a Roman funeral and finally giving her a proper send off. Museum of London Docklands (Canary Wharf), free, book ahead, 11.30am/1.30pm, until 31 August

BEFORE SHAKESPEARE: Discover the unusual, pioneering, and sometimes shocking nature of Elizabethan England's earliest commercial playhouses. Researchers from King's College London and University of Roehampton have gathered to ask one simple question — what is a playhouse? The National Archives (Kew), £5, book ahead, 2pm-3pm

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN: What better way to spend hump day than watching Hugh Jackman prance around in a top hat? See guilty pleasure smash hit The Greatest Showman at Merchant Square's outdoor cinema. Paddington Basin, free, just turn up, 6pm-8pm

Thursday 2 August

Aerial gymnastics meet fairy tale in Upswing.

WEDDED BLISS: Find out how our ancestors tied (and untied) the knot at an illustrated talk. Professor Rebecca Probert will give you the low-down on the laws which regulated marriage and divorce from 1700 to the turn of the 20th century. The National Archives (Kew), free, book ahead, 2pm-3pm

RESTORING FULHAM PALACE: See how the folks at Fulham Palace are getting on with bringing the estate's long and illustrious past back to life with the help of specialist heritage site manager Steven Bevan. He'll be conducting a Q&A on their extensive restoration project and revealing what's new at the palace. Fulham Palace, free, just turn up, 3pm-4pm

UPSWING: Award-winning acrobats Upswing take Hans Christian Andersen's dark fairy tale The Red Shoes to dizzying new heights in a outdoor spectacle that combines aerial gymnastics, Chinese pole, and dance...all while sporting stilettos. If that's not enough excitement for you, there's also an array of sideshows and a cocktail menu that celebrates inspirational women. We'll have the Margarita Atwood, please. Guildhall Yard, free entry, just turn up, circus workshops 12.30pm-1.30pm and performances 6pm-10pm

RENAULT CLIO PARTY: Groupe Renault is turning the clock back to celebrate its iconic Clio car with a 90s throwback party. Pop into Hogarth House after work and enjoy haute cuisine such as black forest gateaux, Vienetta, and Hubba Bubba-flavoured slushies while getting your groove on to Britney, Steps, and the Spice Girls. Hogarth House (High Holborn), free, book ahead, 7pm-9pm

Friday 3 August

Lambeth Palace hosts its penultimate open afternoon of the season.

ENGINEERING OPEN HOUSE: If you know any youngsters eyeing up a career in STEM, get them down to The Institution of Engineering & Technology for a behind-the-scenes look at the work of an engineer. There'll be robotics demos, coding sessions, and a chance to play around with AI technology. IET London (Savoy Place), free, book ahead, 10am-3.30pm

A BRIGHT HAUNTING: It's your last chance to see Caroline Jane Harris' artistic ode to the photographic process at ASC Gallery. Her hand-cut digital prints, rubbings, and etched copper plates explore the medium's history and its future possibilities. ASC Gallery (Walworth), free, just turn up, 10.30am-5pm

LAMBETH PALACE GARDENS: Explore the gardens of the Archbishop of Canterbury's London gaff at the penultimate open afternoon of the year. You'll also get the chance to explore a magnificent 17th century library and a historic crypt. Plus, all the money raised goes to charity. Lambeth Palace, £5, just turn up, 12pm-3pm

SHAKE IT UP: Creating an on-the-spot play worthy of Shakespeare... how hard can it be? ShakeItUp theatre is preparing to unleash some Bard-based bedlam at the Camden Fringe, where they'll be creating a brand new Shakespeare play using his language, your suggestions, and their overactive imaginations. Upper Room (Camden), £5, book ahead, 8pm-9pm

Saturday 4 August

Farmyard fun at Mudchute Agricultural Show.

TUDOR STITCH-UP: Celebrate the National Day of Stitch with the Blackheath Embroiderer's Guild at Queen's House. They've got everything you need to create a piece of embroidery inspired by the Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I on display in the Queen’s Presence Chamber. Queen's House (Greenwich), free, just turn up, 10am-1.30pm

THE BIG DIN: Take your mini maestros to make some noise at Hyde Park's Big Din. They'll craft their own musical instrument out of junk before taking to the bandstand from a improvised performance (grown ups, may we humbly suggest bringing earplugs?). Hyde Park Bandstand, free, book ahead, 11am-1pm

MUDCHUTE AGRICULTURAL SHOW: With donkey rides, fairground fun, and a sheep show, you'd be baa-rmy to miss Mudchute's free agricultural show. Plus, if you're a bit of a whizz when it comes to growing veggies or baking cakes, you can enter their fresh produce competitions for free. Mudchute Park and Farm (Isle of Dogs), free entry, just turn up, 11am-5pm, repeated tomorrow

LONDON SEWING MACHINE MUSEUM: Opening its doors for just one afternoon a month, this has got to be one of London's most obscure museums. Crafting enthusiasts can drool over a 600-strong collection of vintage sewing machines, including one once owned by Queen Victoria's eldest daughter. London Sewing Machine Museum (Balham), free (donations welcome), just turn up, 2pm-5pm

Sunday 5 August

KIRKALDY TESTING MUSEUM: Discover a slice of London's industrial heritage at Kirkaldy Testing Museum, a Victorian workshop which hosts its monthly open day today. If you're lucky, you'll even get to see the Kirkaldy's Universal Testing Machine in action. Kirkaldy Testing Museum (Southwark), £5, just turn up, 11am-5pm

JOURNEY TO THE WEST: As an émigré, how do you find the balance between adapting to your new culture and retaining your roots? That's the question posed by this workshop, which explores the concept of east European people living abroad and explores the concept of concealing a national identity. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), free, book ahead, 12pm

Fun things to do with our friends and sponsor Funzing...

Lost London Walking Tour


London is a city of incredible transformation. With structural remains that date back to ancient history still in existence, this unique walking tour takes in Lost London in all its former glory. From the Titanic booking office to the graveyards of man's best friend, you'll discover the weird and wonderful places that used to exist in the capital but are now only committed to memory. Using old photographs, newspaper cuttings and stories from the past, you'll be amazed at what has largely been written out of our history books...   Get tickets

Step on Board the Haunted Tube Express


The London Undergound is over 150 years old, and it's seen a thing or two in its time. Are you brave enough to face the ghosts of the Underground? Travel through the home of the Bank's Black Nun, learn about the elderly angel who saved a tube worker from death, and come to face to face with Farringdon's screaming spectre. Bring your oyster card and discover the hidden secrets of the Underground. You'll need to have an Oyster card or travelcard for this event. Get tickets

Secrets of the Square Mile


The City of London is home to spectacular skyscrapers, but it’s also home to some fascinating history. Join Matt on a tour of the Square Mile’s ancient alleyways, old churches and imposing architecture - including two sites associated with the occult, and one of the City's most haunting memorials to the power of the Blitz.  Get tickets

Paddle Boarding in East London - Beginners


Take to the waters and glide about in this beginner paddleboarding session. By the end of it, you'll be standing up and paddling solo, and there's plenty of help on hand to improve your technique. Change of clothes required.  Get tickets

Last Updated 27 July 2018